Alabama QB Jalen Hurts transfers to Oklahoma

Oklahoma will have its third starting quarterback in three years in 2019. It’s likely going to be a very familiar face to college football fans.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts announced in the Players’ Tribune on Wednesday that he would head to Oklahoma for the 2019 season. Hurts is a graduate transfer and eligible immediately after spending the 2018 season as the backup quarterback to Tua Tagovailoa.

I’ve decided to take my talents to the University of Oklahoma, where I will continue my development as both a quarterback and as a student.

Hurts’ transfer has been long-expected since Tagovailoa beat him out for the starting job at the beginning of the 2018 season. Since he was set to graduate in December, Hurts stayed as the team’s No. 2 quarterback in 2018 instead of leaving the team and transferring during the season.

That worked out well for Alabama. Much like when Tagovailoa came in for Hurts in the second half of the 2018 National Championship Game and led a comeback win over Georgia, Hurts won a game from the bench for Alabama. Hurts replaced the Heisman runner up in the second half of the SEC Championship Game against the Bulldogs and led Alabama to a 35-28 win. 

Tagovailoa, who suffered an ankle injury in the game, started against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and again against Clemson in the 2019 National Championship Game. Hurts played late in the game as Clemson had a 44-16 lead.

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Alabama vs. Clemson: College Football Playoff Championship Game
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Alabama vs. Clemson: College Football Playoff Championship Game
Clemson's K'Von Wallace stops Alabama's Irv Smith Jr. during the first half the NCAA college football playoff championship game, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Clemson's Justyn Ross makes a one-handed catch in front of Alabama's Josh Jobe during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Clemson's A.J. Terrell intercepts a pass for a touchdown during the first half the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Clemson's Justyn Ross celebrates his touchdown catch during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Jonah Williams (73) and the offense walk off the field dejected during the Alabama Crimson Tide's game versus the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 7, 2019, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) rolls out to pass during the Alabama Crimson Tide's game versus the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 7, 2019, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 07: Justyn Ross #8 of the Clemson Tigers falls to the ground after making catch against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium on January 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Tee Higgins #5 of the Clemson Tigers makes a third quarter touchdown catch against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Tee Higgins #5 of the Clemson Tigers makes a catch against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers throws a pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium on January 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Josh Jacobs #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball against the Clemson Tigers in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reacts after his defense held on a fourth down play during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Clemson's Tre Lamar stops Alabama's Josh Jacobs during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Clemson's Justyn Ross catches a touchdown pass during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Alabama's DeVonta Smith recovers his own fumble during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Clemson, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Clemson's Trevor Lawrence throws while being rushed by Alabama's Anfernee Jennings during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Offensive coordinator Jeff Scott has gatorade dumped on him by J.D. Davis #33 of the Clemson Tigers after their 44-16 win over Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Clemson Tigers wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) celebrates after a 5 yard touchdown catch during the second half of the Alabama Crimson Tide's game versus the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 7, 2019, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Sean Pollard #76 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates his teams 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tidein the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with his team late in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with his team late in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with his team late in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after his teams 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Picked Oklahoma over Maryland and Miami

Hurts took visits to Oklahoma, Maryland and Miami after his name was officially entered into the NCAA’s transfer database. Hurts would have played for former Alabama offensive coordinator and new Terrapins head coach Mike Locksley at Maryland. Former Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos is now the offensive coordinator at Miami.

Ohio State QB Tate Martell said Tuesday night he was heading to Miami. 

Hurts’ choice of Oklahoma keeps the Sooners at the top of the Big 12 and as a preseason contender for the College Football Playoff. He joins an offense that will utilize both his running and passing abilities and returns wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and running back Kennedy Brooks. Oklahoma’s offense in 2018 averaged over 8.5 yards per play, the most an offense has ever averaged at the top level of college football.

It’s a near-guarantee that Hurts will be Oklahoma’s starting QB to begin the 2019 season as Kyler Murray is off to either Major League Baseball or the NFL and backup quarterback Austin Kendall is exploring a transfer.

In addition to (probably) being Oklahoma’s third starting QB in three years, Hurts has the opportunity to be the team’s third-straight Heisman-winning QB. Baker Mayfield won the award in 2017 as Oklahoma made the College Football Playoff and Murray won it a year ago. No school has produced three different Heisman winners in three-straight seasons.

Hurts is aiming for a fourth-straight title game appearance

If Hurts and Oklahoma get to the National Championship Game in 2020 he would be making his fourth-straight appearance in a title game. Hurts was Alabama’s starter as a freshman when the Crimson Tide lost to Clemson on a late touchdown in 2017.

He played an important role for Alabama in the leadup to the 2016 National Championship Game too. Hurts enrolled early at Alabama and simulated Clemson QB Deshaun Watson as Alabama prepared for its first playoff game against the Tigers.

Hurts ends his Alabama career with 1,976 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns over three seasons. He was also 445-of-707 passing for 5,626 yards, 48 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over his three years with the team. He completed over 60 percent of his passes in all three seasons and had over 800 yards rushing in each of his two seasons as a starter.

Alabama players who made appearances in the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 National Championship Games were the first players since the start of the BCS era to play in four-consecutive title games. Hurts will be aiming to be the first player to play in four-straight title games with two schools.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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